Women's Basketball Looks To Rebound At Quinnipiac Wednesday Evening

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Quinnipiac (0-1, 0-0 Northeast)
Date: November 17, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: TD Bank Sports Center (3,300), Hamden, Conn.
Holy Cross Radio: Stretch Internet Radio; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play, Listen here
Quinnipiac Radio:
QBSN; Miles McQuiggan, play-by-play, Listen here
Series Record: Series tied, 2-2
Last Meeting: Quinnipiac 85, Holy Cross 66 (December 1, 2007, Worcester, Mass.)

THE SERIES WITH QUINNIPIAC: Wednesday's match-up marks the just the fifth meeting all-time between the Crusaders and Bobcats, as the series is knotted at 2-2. The first meeting between the two teams occurred during the 1980-1981 season in Hamden, Conn. Holy Cross won that first meeting, 88-70. Holy Cross nabbed its second victory the following season, tallying a 75-63 win in Worcester, Mass. The two teams did not meet again until the 2006-2007 season. On Nov. 14 and then again on Dec. 1, 2007, the two matched up for a home-and-home series, with Quinnipiac taking both games by the respective 72-69 and 85-66 tallies. This season's game will serve as the second time Holy Cross has played at the TD Bank Sports Center, home of the Bobcats. Quinnipiac took the last meeting in Hamden four seasons ago. Head coach Bill Gibbons is looking for his first win against the Bobcats, as he is 0-2 all-time against them. Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri, who is currently in her 16th season at the helm of the program, boasts a 2-0 record when playing the Crusaders. Her team looks to continue its two-game win streak on Wednesday. Either way, one team will take the all-time series edge after Wednesday's final has been counted.

PLAYING THE BOBCATS: The nickname Bobcats is used by a total of 15 collegiate institutions, including Quinnipiac. The 14 other schools that own the Bobcats title are Bates (Lewiston, Maine), College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, Missouri), Frostburg State (Frostburg, Md.), Georgia College and State University, Lees-McRae College (Banner Elk, N.C.), Montana State, New York University, Paul Smith's College (Paul Smith, N.Y.), Peru State (Peru, Neb.), St. Thomas (Miami, Fla.), Texas State, Pittsburgh-Greenburg and West Virginia Wesleyan. Quinnipiac is the only Bobcats school that Holy Cross has played against in program history.  

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE: In program history, Holy Cross has played against six of the 11 teams that make up the Northeast conference. This season, Holy Cross will face three NEC opponents, including Bryant, who will be instated in to the conference in 2012-2013, Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut. The Crusaders have played in a total of 23 games against Northeast foes, winning 18 games in all (78.3 percent). Holy Cross boasts a winning percentage in series against Bryant (4-0), Central Connecticut (8-1), Long Island (3-1), Mount St. Mary's (2-0), Sacred Heart (1-0) and Wagner (2-1). They do not post a losing record against any NEC member as they are at .500 (2-2) against Quinnipiac. The squad has not played against Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Robert Morris and St. Francis (N.Y. and Pa.).

ALL-AROUND AMY: Sophomore starting forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) proved that she could indeed play in full strength as she recorded her third-career double-double against Yale on Nov. 12. In the season opener, Lepley notched career-highs in rebounds (11) and field goal attempts (17) while tying her career-high with nine made field-goals. She also led the team with 18 points and added four assists. Lepley then followed with three assists and three points against the No. 1 team in the country, Connecticut, as her assists total tied the team-high. After the first week of action, she currently ranks 18th in scoring average (10.5), ninth in rebounding (6.0) and assists (3.5), 13th in field goal percentage (45.5) and eighth in assist/turnover ratio (1.2) amongst Patriot League performers. Lepley was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team last season after playing a full season of basketball for the first time since her junior year in high school, averaged 23.7 minutes, 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season. Lepley also claimed six Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards and recorded a team-best two double-doubles. The Massachusetts native also finished the season with a 44.2 field goal percentage, a team-high, and led the team in rebounding in four contests, including a season-high 10 rebounds twice.

THE FROSH IMPACT: The five-member freshman class of Kristen Fuery (Dresher, Pa.), Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.), Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.), Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) and Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has showed why head coach Bill Gibbons' decision to make immediate use of his newest team members was correct. Out of the 71 points Holy Cross put up on the board against Yale, the freshman class tallied 38 of them. They also played a combined 89 minutes, going 15-for-25 from the floor (60 percent shooting). Malone and Hamner had double-digit scoring performances, marking 14 and 13 points respectively. Ganser added seven points while Smith finished with four points. The freshman also brought down 28 rebounds in that first contest. Against Connecticut, the freshman continued to put up top-team numbers as Smith tallied a team-high 12 points, making four three-point field goals. Malone was the team leader in rebounding as she brought down five of the team's 16 total rebounds. Smith tied the team-high with three assists while Malone tracked down the team's lone steal against the Huskies as well. After the first week of action, Malone ranks as the team's top point scorer with a scoring average of 11.0.

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING: With no player on the roster listed taller than 6-0, the Holy Cross women's basketball team knew that height may be a challenge in terms of team defense. However, the Crusaders showed that height was not an issue as they pounded Yale on the boards on Nov. 12, collecting 40 rebounds next to the Bulldogs' 28. With Lepley leading the way with 11 rebounds, senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) and Smith followed with six rebounds apiece. Newcomers Ganser, Hamner and Malone added four boards on to the total. The team also had 12 offensive rebounds and combined for two rebounds as a team. Against Connecticut, two of the team's smallest players, Malone, listed at 5-9, and junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), listed at 5-8, pulled down a combined eight rebounds, half of the team's total rebound tally.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish fifth in the 2010-2011 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 42 votes. American was chosen to finish first, receiving nine first-place votes as senior forward Michelle Kirk was also voted Preseason Player of the Year. The Eagles earned a league-high 93 points and was followed closely behind by reigning Patriot League Champion, Lehigh, who received seven first place votes and 91 points. Navy was picked third with 70 points, while Army (59 points) and Holy Cross (42) were selected fourth and fifth respectively. Colgate and Lafayette tied for sixth place with 40 votes and Bucknell wrapped up the standings in eighth place with 31 points.

FREMEAU, MAY AND WARD NAMED 2010-2011 TEAM CAPTAINS: Seniors Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) and May, along with Ward were named captains for the 2010-2011 season. Fremeau topped the team in rebounding last year and ranking 10th in the league as well with an average of 5.4 rebounds per game. She is also a threat not only on defense but on offense as well as she also posted a 12.3 scoring average, ranking seventh amongst league individuals and third on the team last season. She was named to the second team All-Patriot League for her efforts. May will be the veteran starting in the backcourt, as she returns as the team's best defensive player. As a junior, she averaged 22.1 minutes, 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Her 4.1 rebound average was second highest on the team. Ward is also listed among the veterans in the backcourt, as she moves from the point guard position to the shooting guard in her junior season. Ward saw action in all 31 games last season, averaging 26.8 minutes, 5.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. She ranked second on the team and ninth in the Patriot League with 72 assists, averaging 2.3 assists per game. Combined, the three scored 661 out of the 899 points posted by the team's returning letterwinners. They also pulled down 348 out of the 502 rebounds collected by this year's returners. Through the first week of action, the captains have put up 24 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists.

WELCOME (BACK) TO WORCESTER: There are two new faces handling front office duties for the 2010-2011 Crusader basketball squad, assistant coaches Chante Bonds and Kristin Drabyn. Bonds spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Fairleigh Dickinson University women's basketball team. In addition to her assistant coaching responsibilities at FDU, Bonds scheduled the team's travel arrangements, worked with the strength and conditioning program and recruited on the east coast and Canada. She was a four-year letter winner on the Bentley women's basketball team, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in Informational Design and Corporate Communication. Drabyn spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the women's basketball team at Texas Tech. While at Texas Tech, Drabyn assisted in the everyday operations of the women's basketball program, including serving as the video coordinator. Drabyn was also a four-year member of the University of Maryland Baltimore County women's basketball team. She graduated as the school's all-time record holder in free throw percentage (90%) and in made three pointers (169). She co-captained the squad as a senior and was an All-Conference selection in 2008. In 2007, UMBC was the America East Tournament champions, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Drabyn was also named the America East Sportsmanship winner in 2007. A 2008 graduate of UMBC with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Communications and Exercise Physiology, Drabyn earned her Master's degree in Sports Management from Texas Tech in 2010. A familiar face will also work with the women's basketball team this season as former Holy Cross basketball standout, Brittany Keil, rejoins the Crusader family as the team's strength and conditioning coach. Keil will also work directly with the Crusader men's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, baseball, softball, field hockey, volleyball, women's tennis, cross country and track & field squads.

RETURNING TO GLORY: The 2010-2011 season is the first instance under Gibbons' tutelage that a player on the roster has not participated in the NCAA Tournament. The last time a Holy Cross team made the NCAA Tournament was at the end of the 2006-2007 season. Holy Cross has played in the Big Dance 12 times, posting a 1-12 all-time record. It received a team-best seventh seeding in 1985 and played as the 16th seed in its last appearance, 2007. The Crusaders have also participated in the WNIT, playing in the 2002 season.

PATRIOT LEAGUE DOMINANCE: Despite its preseason ranking, the Holy Cross women's basketball team has its eyes set back on the top spot amongst the Patriot League's eight teams. Since its inaugural season back in 1991, the team has posted 237 league victories and just 63 losses. It has made 20 appearances in the Patriot League Tournament, boasting 11 championships and a 38-9 all-time record. The team was seeded fifth in the tournament last season, a program low, but proved that it could not be counted out, topping Army, 57-53 in the quarterfinal round before falling to the 2010 champion, Lehigh, in the semifinals. The Crusaders are most successful against Colgate as they have mounted a 41-3 all-time record against the Raiders. The team also boasts a 43-8 record against Lafayette. Army and American have given Holy Cross the most trouble, as the two have combined for 24 of the 63 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 11 wins against Holy Cross as well.

RENEWING OLD RIVALRIES: Fordham, a former Patriot League foe, Massachusetts, an in-state rival, and Quinnipiac reenter the Crusaders' slate this season. The Crusaders and Rams have played in a total 37 contests, dating back to the 1983 season. Holy Cross holds the 31-6 all-time edge over Fordham, last earning a 70-62 victory in 2003. Massachusetts and Holy Cross have faced off 16 times in program history and will vie for the lead in the all-time series as it is tied at 8-8. The Minutewomen own a three game win-streak against Holy Cross, however, winning the last meeting 77-46 in 2007. The Crusaders will play on the Bobcats' home court this season as the teams have met four times in program history. The all-time series is notched at 2-2 with Holy Cross winning the first two and then Quinnipiac taking the last two competitions. 

AND STARTING NEW ONES: Holy Cross will also face two brand new opponents this season, East Tennessee State and North Carolina A&T. The Crusaders will play these two teams in its only tournament of the season, the Marriott Cavalier Classic, hosted by Virginia. The two teams will definitely present a challenge for Holy Cross, as ETSU boasted an overall record of 23-9 last season and an 18-2 Atlantic Sun record. North Carolina A&T went 23-11 overall, but was also dominant in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, finishing with a 14-2 league record. 

HEAD COACH BILL GIBBONS: 26th SEASON: Bill Gibbons is in his 26th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program and 30th as a member of the Holy Cross basketball family in 2010-2011. He has compiled a 476-247 record as head coach, ranking 28th on the active Division I win leaders list. His quarter-century pledge to the team has made a major impact on all aspects of the women's basketball world and especially in the surrounding community. On April 30, 2009, Gibbons received the prestigious Paul N. Johnson Award, given to a member of the Worcester community who has greatly contributed to Worcester area basketball. With his service, the name Gibbons has become a fixture in the realm of women's basketball. He has led the Crusaders to nine Patriot League Championships in the last 15 years. He has also made 12 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 24 years as head coach. With sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the East. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in the position. He has led the Holy Cross women's basketball program to more victories than any other coach, and is the winningest coach in Holy Cross Basketball history. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357 wins as head coach of the Holy Cross men's basketball program), who had hired him to be his assistant coach in 1981. Now with more than 450 wins under his belt, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind legendary baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960. 

NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: On Friday, Nov. 20, Holy Cross will wrap up its three-game road trip with a visit to the Bronx, N.Y., home to Fordham. The two teams were annual competitors back when Fordham was a member of the Patriot League, but have not faced off since 2003. Holy Cross holds an all-time record of 31-6 against the Rams and has won the last five match-ups. Friday's contest will be held at the Rose Hill Gym Center which holds a crowd of 3,200, starting at 4:00 p.m. Fordham currently sits at 1-1 after opening up its season at the Elon Classic in Elon, N.C., losing to Elon and then beating Stony Brook. The Rams will also host fellow Patriot League opponent Bucknell on Wednesday, Nov. 17 before the Friday afternoon tip.

SCOUTING QUINNIPIAC

Record: 0-1 Affiliation: Northeast Conference

HEAD COACH: Bobcats head coach Tricia Fabbri enters her 16th season at the helm of the Connecticut women's basketball team. Her 15-year overall record stands at 207-214 (.492). She was named the 2000-2001 and 2005-2006 Northeast Conference Coach of the Year. In 2007-2008, Fabbri led the Bobcats to a berth in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The WNIT bid marked the first national postseason tournament appearance in Quinnipiac women's basketball Division I history. She led the Bobcats to 25 wins in the historic season, the most by Quinnipiac since joining the Division I ranks. Her 2009-2010 squad went 12-18 overall, recording seven wins and 11 losses in the NEC for an eighth place finish. Fabbri arrived at Quinnipiac from Fairfield, where she served as an assistant coach for four years after an outstanding playing career under Dianne Nolan. As a player, she helped the Stags win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship and appear in the NCAA Tournament. She was named first team All-MAAC three times and earned MAAC All-Tournament team honors those same three years. She totaled 1,622 points and 1,037 rebounds and her 35-point performance against Memphis State as a junior is second on the school's single-game scoring list.

2010-2011 SQUAD: Quinnipiac currently sits at 0-1 on its young season as it lost its opener to Fairfield, Fabbri's alma mater, 65-48. The team returns 11 letterwinners after losing six to graduation. The team also welcomes five freshmen, as newcomers Brittany McQuain and Brittay Hill are both listed as projected starters. McQuain tied the team's high with nine points and brought down a team-high seven rebounds against Fairfield. Hill tallied six points and three rebounds in her collegiate debut. The Bobcats were selected to finish sixth out of 12 teams in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll as senior center Courtney Kaminski was selected to the Preseason All-NEC team.